First, China agreed to help Colombia build a transcontinental railway to link Colombia’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and serve as an alternative to the Panama Canal. It is an estimated $7.6 billion project and will be operated by the China Railway Group.
Now, China has agreed to help Nicaragua build a $30 billion canal. Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega hopes it will rival the Panama Canal. He also seeks funds from Brazil, Russia and Venezuela for its construction.
The ships using Nicaragua’s new waterway will navigate waters which had been in dispute between Nicaragua and Colombia. After 12 years, the World Court on borders ruled these waters, which hold much oil and gas deposits beneath them, belonged to Nicaragua.
But critics say Nicaragua is incapable of patrolling its waters and airspace, and point as evidence the drug trafficking gangs that benefit from this weakness.